Myth-Folklore Unit: Ballads of Robin Hood

Overview. The Robin Hood stories in this unit are in the form of ballads as found in The English and Scottish Popular Ballads collected by Francis James Child. The ballads are oldest sources for the Robin legends, some of them dating back to the Middle Ages. You will see Robin at the start of his outlaw career, a young man with a furious temper who murders fourteen of the king's foresters, leaving just one alive to tell the tale. In addition to his skill with the bow, Robin is a trickster too, often disguising himself as someone unexpected — a butcher, a beggar, a monk, and even an old woman. You will meet the Merry Men, such as Little John, Will Scarlett and Allen a Dale, and you will also meet Robin's sworn enemies, such as the Bishop of Hereford and the Sheriff of Nottingham. And yes, Maid Marian will make an appearance, as will King Richard. Plus, some of the ballads have YouTube recordings where you can listen to the song as well as reading the lyrics!

Language. All the readings in this unit are ballads. For some of the ballads you have just the lyrics; for some ballads, you can listen to a performance of the song at YouTube. The ballads are quite old, so the language is quite old-fashioned, but good for singing out loud!

Story Length. Each ballad is a single page in length.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on two pages total: Robin Hood. Click "Older Posts" at the bottom of that page to see the second page.

  1. Progress to Nottingham
  2. Little John
  3. The Butcher
  4. The Ranger
  5. The Bold Pedlar
  6. The Shepherd
  7. Robin Hood’s Delight
  8. The Pedlars
  9. Allen a Dale
  10. Rescuing Three Squires
  1. The Bishop of Hereford
  2. Little John a Begging
  3. The Bishop
  4. The Golden Prize
  5. The Noble Fisherman
  6. Robin Hood and Maid Marian
  7. The King’s Disguise
  8. The Golden Arrow
  9. Robin Hood and the Valiant Knight
  10. Robin Hood’s Death